Recent AncestryDNA Projects

DNA Traits Compare

DNA Traits Compare enables AncestryDNA Traits customers a way to interact and compare traits with other DNA matches on the platform. Along with Traits, it was seen as a way to improve further user engagement within the AncestryDNA app. 

With the release of Traits, we saw a large increase in return customers, but with the added value of trait comparisons, a higher increase in engagement and messaging.

Data driven ideas

Data from the existing AncestryDNA Matches compare feature suggested that customers would engage in viewing and contacting other individuals on the platform if they were able to see relatable trait patterns in their close snd semi-distant matches.

We had brainstorm sessions with several stakeholders and involved other lead individuals on supporting teams to concept the initial idea of delivering a traits compare feature with the release of Ancestry Traits. This involved engineering, science, product, and design across all platforms. We used learnings from data science looking into KPI’s from Matches compare as this would be a similar but more intimate experience.

Understanding our customers

With the help of the user research department, we determined that we would use three of our primary personas for our target users:
  • The Identity Reclaimer
  • To learn about their cultural roots and their ancestors, feel more secure and proud in their identity and feel more connected to their heritage.

  • The Mystery Solver
  • To solve a close family mystery (birth family/ adoption, unknown parent/grandparent, estranged relatives, surprise bio-parent*, etc.)

  • The DNA hobbyist
  • To learn everything they can about their family.

These three types of customers generally dive deep into the product to get deeper understanding into their genealogical roots or are driven to seek answers about their identity. With the release of traits, they were the optimal user types to use this feature to enhance their experience and potential to gather answers.

Wireframes detailing layout for featuring match list

I worked with my team on several iterations of the invite screen and flow. We also worked with legal and science to help determine how customers could best interpret the DNA data and any privacy and legal issues that may arise. 

Initially our team wanted to open this up to a public experience but it became apparent that we needed to run more testing to support our idea that this would bring in more customers without leaking private data of existing customers in a closed platform. 

Compare panels UI

After several iterations, I settled on a bottom panel UI that was used within our Regions feature, but also allowed the ability to toggle through all three panels easily on the same screen. This showed increased engagement in our user tests as it allowed for users to not feel overwhelmed or as if they were in and endless scroll loop of profiles.

I worked with the iOS and Android dev teams to show proof of concept of the interaction model by delivering prototypes in framer. I wanted to make sure it was not something out of scope or unattainable for release, and I also wanted to challenge myself by exploring the Framer prototype tool.

Collaboration for consistency

I worked with the designer working on DNA matches to design the mini profile and messaging screens so we could align our UI and deliver a consistent experience to our customers.